There is a holiday tradition in Denmark that involves making a bowl of risengrød for a household's resident guardian spirit, called a nisse. A nisse is sort of a mixture of elf/pixie/gnome and in Scandinavian folklore nisse were said to protect farms and their masters. But nisse are known to be temperamental and if they do not receive a warm bowl of risengrød with a knob of butter and sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon on Christmas Eve, there's no telling what havoc they'll wreak. I remember reading somewhere that when he didn't get his porridge, one nisse made the daughter of the house dance all night long until she almost died.
This year our dagpleje mor (daycare provider), Inger, and her family gave us the gift of our very own nisse, Alberte.
I prepared risengrød a few days ago and thought it was just about the best thing I've ever tasted. All it has in it is rice, milk, and salt, but it is wonderfully delicious, hearty, and satisfying. You can bet Alberte will be getting a bowl this Christmas Eve.
1c rice (pearl rice, aborio works, too)
4.5c milk (I used 1.5 percent, which I believe is the equivalent of the 2% found in the U.S.)
1. Rinse rice well and drain. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring first three ingredients to a rapid boil over high heat.
2. Pour in rice, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
3. Reduce heat to low, stirring rice until boiling is reduced to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
4. Add milk to rice, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce to low. Once boiling has reduced to a simmer, cover and allow to cook, without stirring, 45-50 minutes.
Serve with a pat of butter and cinnamon and sugar.